Soledad O'Brien and Dick Durbin Deliver Twin Smackdowns To Republicans On Benghazi Hearings

The politics of the Benghazi hearings conducted yesterday did not go unnoticed by CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien or top Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. O'Brien grilled Republican Senator Ron Johnson, while Dick Durbin wondered allowed why, given all the Benghazi fuss, did the Iraq War not get the same treatment.

Soledad O'Brien confronted Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) whose line of questioning to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings yesterday produced the most notable moment from Secretary Clinton, the now famous line, "What difference does it make." The two talked past each other, with Sen. Johnson trying to hammer down the Republican line on Benghazi: that there was some kind of politicaly motivated controversy over an information coverup after the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.

Soledad O'Brien pursued a different line: isn't Sen. Johnson engaging in smear tactics here? In an interview with Buzzfeed (btw, kudos to Buzzfeed for reaching senator-interviewing status) Ron Johnson said that Hillary Clinton's becoming emotional was a good way to avoid answering the question. Sen. Johnson did not want to answer questions about that, saying only that he "was responding to a question," and that "maybe I shouldn't have" said that. We expect hypocrisy from politicians, which is a little sad, but Soledad O'Brien consistently calls them on it when she gets the chance. Is there a real Benghazi controversy? I doubt it, but there may be real reasons to think so. Are these hearings, and the way Republicans have acted during them politically motivated? Of course.

During the hearings themselves, Dick Durbin of Illinois, the number two Democrat in the Senate, drew a parallel to the bungled information that came out of the Benghazi attacks and the bungled information...that started the Iraq War. Given that there weren't any hearings on that, it's a fair (and damning) point. Also, watch for the amazing reaction shot of John McCain when Durbin brings up the Iraq War. A+ to the producer who made that momentary camera switch.

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